During “The Ingraham Angle” on Monday night, Laura Ingraham interviewed Speaker of the House Paul Ryan about Sunday morning’s mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in which 26 were killed and others wounded. Ingraham asked him about gun control — and about the reaction he received after his call to prayer.
Speaker Ryan had tweeted out, after the news of the shooting broke, “Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.”
There was swift and hateful reaction to Ryan’s tweet. People politicized the tragedy by blaming the GOP and the NRA rather than unifying in a moment of faith. Celebrity Wil Wheaton even responded with a tweet that said, “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of s***.”
Others went on to even blame Ryan for the shooting — because of his acceptance of NRA donations.
“It’s disappointing. It’s sad,” the speaker told Laura Ingraham. “People who do not have faith don’t understand faith.”
He added, “It is the right thing to do to pray in moments like this … Prayer works.”
Speaker Ryan is right. People who do not have faith do not — cannot — understand faith and the strength it brings to believers.
In 1 Corinthians 1:18-21, Paul wrote to the church in Corinth:
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.
For those with no faith, prayer seems pointless and powerless. In the midst of chaos, it seems like foolishness to trust an invisible, all-powerful God who seemingly does not intervene. But God did not cause Sunday’s violence — the sinful nature of men and women that distorts all truth did. For nonbelievers, it is easier to lay the blame on a policy or a politician. Trusting in one’s ability to somehow control the uncontrollable is more feasible than trusting in a holy God who could miraculously use evil for good.
Even for Christians, it is difficult to accept that a loving God would allow such despair. But faith oversteps foolishness, reminding believers that God’s will is not always visible — but it is always present. Trusting Him with the events of each day — both good and bad — is so much better than trying to work out tragedy by the standards of the world.
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God was not caught by surprise on Sunday morning in Sutherland Springs. Just as He ordained the lives of each person present, He knew the length of their days. He welcomed them home with open arms, thanks to His loving forgiveness. Our sin has brought evil into the world, and the reality of it is witnessed through this tragedy.
Christians are called to pray — to know God more. To understand His purpose for our lives. To know who He is and what He wills for each of us. We should pray for peace for the families and community of Sutherland Springs. We should pray that the Holy Spirit would move now in the lives of those with no faith. We should pray for the lost — not because we are better, but because we, too, were once lost.
Faith seems foolish to the world — but it is blessed salvation for those who believe.
Katie Nations, married for 15 years, is a working mother of three young children in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.